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At the Horn: Sabres 2 - Bruins 3

Ristolainen, Montour score as Buffalo opens road trip with loss to Boston

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The Buffalo Sabres' power-play drought finally ended on Thursday and they created a flurry of chances 5-on-5, but they fell to the Boston Bruins 3-2 at TD Garden.

Rasmus Ristolainen and Brandon Montour scored for Buffalo while Linus Ullmark made 24 saves in net. 

However, Tukka Rask was strong in net for Boston, stopping 36 shots. Brad Marchand scored twice for Boston, including a power-play goal of his own. David Pastrnak, the NHL's leader in goals, tallied early in the third period while on the power play for his 20th of the season. That goal proved to be the difference. 

Boston went 2-for-2 on the power play, while the Sabres finished 1-for-4.

 

What happened

Ristolainen opened the scoring 5:25 into the game when he scored on the power play. Parked in front of the net, the Sabres defenseman muscled the puck into the net to put the Sabres ahead.

While Sabres fans might not be used to seeing Ristolainen as a net-front presence, it's a position he's quite familiar with. He said he played there often in Finland, prior to making the NHL.

"I like it there," he told Brian Duff during the first intermission on MSG. "That's where you get a lot of goals. …Try to make some chaos and try to screen the goalie for our other players and it worked out."

The Sabres were strong for most of that period, but couldn't break through to extend their one-goal lead. Buffalo outshot the Bruins 17-4 in the first period and spent a majority of the opening 20 minutes in the offensive zone. 

The Bruins, however, were able to even things up before the end of the period when Marchand scored his first goal with 6:08 remaining. 

His second goal came on a deflection with the man advantage with 5:15 to go in the second period.

In the final minute of the middle frame, Ullmark made a terrific save on Jake DeBrusk and then Jeff Skinner hit the post just before the horn sounded.

Minutes after Pastrnak scored early in the third, Rask made perhaps his best save of the night. While shorthanded, he reached out with the glove side of his blocker hand to stop a chance by Evan Rodrigues. 

Montour scored with a clean one-timer from the point with 7:02 left in regulation to put Buffalo back in the game. Buffalo maintained some pressure in the final minutes, but were unable to beat Rask again.

 

What it means

The Sabres are now 10-9-3 on the season. They've been outscored 36-20 in their last 10 games and are 1-7-2 in that stretch.

With an assist on Ristolainen's goal, captain Jack Eichel has totaled 11 points (5+6) in seven career visits to Boston, including four-point games on Dec. 26, 2015 and Dec. 16, 2018. He's now on a four-game point streak with five goals and two assists during that span.

Boston, the leaders in the Atlantic Division, are now 8-0-4 at home this season.

Buffalo will hope to have Marcus Johansson back for at least one of the team's next two games in Florida. Johansson has missed the past five games with an upper-body injury. Johan Larsson returned to the lineup for Buffalo after missing three games, but Johansson is one of four forwards still on the injury report.

 

Roll the highlight film

Here's a look at Ristolainen's goal in the blue paint:

Video: BUF@BOS: Ristolainen buries rebound for PPG


 
Coming up

The Sabres' road trip continues on Sunday when they play the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. Faceoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. on MSG and WGR 550 with the Buick Game Night pregame show on MSG starting at 4:30. 

They'll close out the trip on Monday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. 
 

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